The Disappearance of Genuine Interaction

            Today, with my eyes glued to my iPhone, I obliviously tripped up the stairs. I was buried in my Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or some social media site in order to see what my 914 “friends” were doing with their lives. The characters from Her are not all that unlike me. Throughout the film, the main, supporting, and background characters are always shown going about their daily lives with an earpiece that they use to communicate with a pocket computer in order to check email, social networking sites, et cetera. These characters are so engulfed by the technology in their life that they scarcely interact with those around them. Ironically enough, Theodore, the protagonist, works for a company called Beautiful Handwritten Letters, where he is paid to electronically write personal letters for customers, posing himself as the customer. Theodore’s job serves, along with the rest of the movie, as an answer to the question: what will happen to human social interaction as technology processes?

Many critics claim that with the expansion of social media, people care more about connecting than genuine emotion or interaction. Theodore’s job parallels this critique. Hand-written letters nowadays are rare and deeply personal items. When someone could easily send a text message, a Facebook message, an email, et cetera, it takes a lot more effort to not only construct the body of the letter but also write out the actual words that make up the content. The letters that Theodore writes, or rather speaks to a word-to-text program, resemble exactly what critics declare is happening to modern-day society. These letters allow the customers to connect to someone else, but because they are not actually written by the supposed sender, the letters do not contain any genuine emotion. Spike Jonze, writer and director of Her, chose to have Theodore work at Beautiful Handwritten Letters not only because they would demonstrate how technological advancement retards human interaction, but also handwritten letters are not ubiquitous enough to be constantly noticed, but sentimental enough to be missed if they disappeared.

As members of the audience, Jonze gave Theodore a job at Beautiful Handwritten Letters because he wanted us to question. What will happen when technology advances? If handwritten letters have become a thing of the past, what else will become completely outdated with technological advancement? Her, as a whole, is supposed to make the audience question the role and impact technology has on society. Personally, Her did not only make me question, but the film also instilled fear. As someone who already trips up stairs because she is too engulfed in technology, I am worried to see human interactions slip nearly into nonexistence as technological dependence increases. I do not want the extent of a friendship to be liking all posts on social media websites. I am not ready for us to become blinded by technology.

Works Consulted

Jonze, Spike, screenwriter. Her. Dir. Spike Jonze. 2013. Film.

Myers, Scott. “Movie Analysis: ‘Her.'” Go Into the Story. N.p., 20 Jan. 2014. Web. 30 Sept. 2014.<http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/&gt;.

2 thoughts on “The Disappearance of Genuine Interaction

  1. A great article. The beginning of the first paragraph immediately captured my attention because I always do the same thing. I love browsing website pages about upcoming movies on my phone, and chatting with my friends on social networks. Or as you said, I also love simply going through the pages and keeping myself updated with what my friends back home are doing. So it’s really a daily routine for me to walk on campus with my cell phone and earpieces. Looking back, this is indeed an unwise behavior because I have missed countless opportunities of knowing people around me. And those people are the ones I am living and working with. Technology brings us nearer to our friends in remote places, but it keeps us away from people around. The reasoning of this article is clear and persuasive, and really makes me think seriously about making some change.

    Like

  2. I really like what you did with this article, it immediately catches the reader’s attention. It definitely describes a common problem for a many members of our generation. Personally, I’m scared of the future that is majorly based on web based or computer facilitated discussion, but I’m already a part of it. The only thing I would suggest for this post would be to try and find specific examples within the movie to prove your point more than just the source you cited. What else besides Theodore’s job could be contributing to this future of online interactions?

    Like

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